Saturday, 9 June 2012

Chippedy Doo-dah!

"Patatine" di Topinambur al Forno
Oven-Roasted Sun-Choke Chips

Time for a snack! Which does not mean "time to stack on the extra pounds"- no, no, no! It means time to enjoy something healthy, tasty, different and cool... oven-roasted Jerusalem artichoke! Now, is that a cool idea, or is that a cool idea?

I had originally bought these to make a salad, as I have on many occasions, because I love their crunchy, water-chestnut-like consistency when served-up raw. But then I was suddenly overcome by the desire to have a little MORE crunch. That's right... I got a bad case of the munchies and something had to happen fast! Something like this!

I peeled and thinly sliced the chokes, then poured a small amount of olive oil into a bowl and thoroughly mixed and coated them with my hands. This is the only way to do it... forget using a spoon- just get in there and make sure all of those slices slide apart and get a little coating. The secret is to use as little oil as possible, as the chokes will soak it up... and the problem is that they do become rather soft once they get hot and you do not want to make matters worse... the idea is to dry them out in the oven after all- until they become crispy, golden brown... but let me tell you- it takes a little while longer than you might think!

Next step was to give them a generous sprinkle of seasoned salt. I made this one by grinding coarse sea-salt and sugar together, with 3 parts salt to one part sugar. I seasoned it with rosemary, a little lemon zest, a little dried garlic, black pepper corns and a tiny hint of nutmeg.

I stirred them well, spread them out on the middle shelf and turned on the broiler... and waited! I expected them to brown-off quickly and had worried they may burn... but they remained pale and became soft... patience! The do tend to shrink a bit when roasting, so make sure to chose nice large roots if you want to make these. Keep tossing them and keep your eyes on them... it is a little tedious but it IS worth it! A couple might end up going over the edge and becoming a little too dark... but that just makes them better!

They made a nice change this balmy Saturday evening... and may well be a cool alternative snack for you to enjoy with drinks! Chips that taste of artichoke! That's just got to be good!

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